Hello again and welcome to the second issue for 2018. It is spring and I hope we are all enjoying it as much as possible, despite it not feeling like it in some parts of North America, for the majority of the season up to now. After all, Ontario has been through a mid April ice storm, which rivals the 2013 storm. I remember that one and an event in April 2003, while Toronto was also going through the SARS outbreak. Remember? Most big-name performers stayed away from Toronto for fear of contracting the disease but, some decided to ignore it and came to play live for the fans. On the weather front, it was rather wintry for a few days in April and it quickly warmed up to summery temperatures, before dropping to near the freezing mark. I could go on and on about what I remember about it but that would make this issue rather massive. I will say that as of today, it is much more springlike than it was during mid April of 2018.
This is a year of challenge and change for the newsletter and for people on the mailing list or who are a part of the Facebook group. We lost a budding listener whom I went to school with on April 4th and her name was Michelle White. We went to the same school for 5 years untill she graduated in 1990 and after 23 years, we reconnected on Facebook, through one of the groups involving the school. For the record, the school we both went to is the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford Ontario. We talked on the phone and on Skype as wellas texting back and forth and at one point, I gave her the phone number for the weather for Hamilton. Unfortunately, that was as far as I would get with her, other than adding her to both the NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada and the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter Facebook groups. I had hoped to get her a WX radio which was strong enough to hear either the Toronto or St Catharines WXR’s because Hamilton is in a bad area for WXR coverage.
She passed away too young, aged 46. She left behind: furry and feathered friends, her husband Jim, grandkids, her mom and dad, a few Facebook groups she was a part of and of course, the rest of her family and friends including myself. I always enjoyed making her laugh because we liked the same TV show and I’m so happy that I helped her get more detailed weather, then she could get on the radio or TV, audibly.
Another notable death to mention is physicist Stephen Hawking, who obviously has no connection with Weather Radio but if it wasn’t for his computerized voice he was given, there wouldn’t have been as easy a choice for both NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada to make, to use a computerized or human like voice on both networks to replace humans reading out the information for so many stations. After all, both Stephen Hawking and Perfect Paul used a DECtalk voice, which was different from each other but had the same concatenate of qualities and the speech pacing and controlled pitch. Just go on YouTube and look for a sample of either Stephen Hawking or Perfect Paul and you will understand what I mean. Also, take a listen to newer voices, based on live people like Samantha, who is based on Susan Bennett (the original American voice of Siri) or Karen (the Australian voice of Siri based on Australian New York-based public speaker and musician Karyn Jacobson). I will even throw in John Briggs, whose voice was used for Daniel who speaks with a British accent. There are many more voices of living people we here today on: iOS devices, train and bus station PA systems, automated phone lines, Alexa, Kindle and yes, even weather Radio. I know, I’ve mentioned this before but it’s always worth repeating, especially with the new voice is coming to Weatheradio Canada in the next few months. Even with Paul Jr. on NOAA Weather Radio in 2016, all of it can be traced back to The popularity of Stephen Hawking and his voice.
On that note, there are also children who use his voice or a similar child variant of it, because of their own inability to speak. Of course, Weather Radio started using computer voices because of the networks expanding and it being too much work, for one or two people to read out the information over the air for more than one transmitter. After all, they also have to talk to the media too. Anyway, RIP Stephen Hawking and thanks for the voice.
Another sad loss is the loss of one of the stores which have been featured in the links section of the newsletter. Here is the announcement from the website.
“We regret to inform you that Durham Radio Sales & Service Inc. after nearly a 25 years in the industry – closed its doors forever at 3:00 PM on Saturday, April 14th. We would like to thank our dedicated staff, loyal customers and friends for your continued support and for many great years in this hobby. Unfortunately, times have changed and it has become impossible to remain competitive in this industry without making drastic changes to our business model. We have decided that it would be better to close the business rather than change the products we carry and reduce customer service.”
“If you need product support please contact the manufacturer.”
There is more to it but I wanted to give the basics of the announcement here! This is a sad loss for me in that I purchased some of the radios I have talked about over the years in this newsletter and I even talked about the store, giving it its own article in 2013.
This was a real shock, not unlike when I heard about Michelle passing away and we now have one less store to pick from, to purchase WX radios. RIP both Michelle and Durham Radio. Frown
Other than that, not much else to talk about since the last issue. Anyway, I hope you all are staying warm and weather-safe. Your continued support for the newsletter is very important and I thank all of you for becoming a part of it, at some time during its history. 🙂
Comments From Readers
There have been a few people who have had a problem with both english and french languages on Weatheradio Canada and this is another one, in the bunch.
Weather Radio comments and issues.
I have a rant about the weather radio service especially in the Toronto and area. Every time I turn on the weather radio, it is 99.5% of the time in FRENCH for a very long time before going English. Nobody that I know around here speaks or understands French. It seems like it is in French for hours and a few seconds in ENGLISH. So, I miss the part I can understand. Most of the time I only have a few minutes to spare to listen to the broadcast but every time it always is in French, so I shut off the radio as I know I will miss the English part 90% of the time.
This is soooo frustrating as a few years ago it was ALWAYS in English here and in French up in northern Ontario which is probably proper and most accepted. Why can we not have an English broadcast straight for 30 minutes ( at least) and have a token French repeat ONCE every 30 minutes (or more) to be fair to the majority of listeners in the GTHA and south eastern/western Ontario.
I’m sure all or most French speaking people around here do understand English very well ! I do change frequency to the Buffalo NY NOA broadcast (always English 24/7) when able to receive it when I get French first or shut off the radio and look out at the sky for my own weather guess. This is so annoying to me. Sorry for the rant but I’m sure many others would agree.
Hey Environment Canada, bring back the way it was. I have 3 languages to deal with as it is without adding French which I fail miserably. I don’t use the phone for weather as I have a radio to get instant weather reports on demand if I can understand the language or Buffalo NOA when in range. The phone defeats the purpose of having the radio. The weather radio is not my form of entertainment but a useful tool for weather knowledge and reporting. When you want or NEED weather radio, one should not have to wait 15 minutes of a language one cannot understand and in traffic while driving, a bad distraction and will miss the English part and thus do it over again, very frustrating. Just like an annoying commercial on the broadcast radio, one changes the channel or shuts the radio off.
Sorry for venting but it really bugs me! lol
Alex Szkabarnicki (Canwarn Trained)
VA3CKI / VE3AWS
As the author of the newsletter and a loyal volunteer of Weatheradio Canada, I see both sides of this argument. At first, I had a problem with it because I don’t speak french as my first language but I at least remember my numbers and some words like: Bonjour, météó and directions like nord, sud, est and oest. As I have mentioned before, I sleep with it on and so, I have regained some of my frenchh back by listening to it. It isn’t my entertainment eithr but I like to have it on, so I am not surprised by a sudden alert. If one wakes me up, so be it!
This is not the only comment I have heard against french on Weatheradio Canada in Southern Ontario but I don’t think this will change any time soon, even with the new voices coming. If you think the french you hear currently is hard to understand, wait untill you hear Nicolas. If you have an iOS device and have downloaded any of the new voices in either language, you will hear what I am talking about. Maybe even I will complain but I know enough words to sortof understand what is being said in french so, I will just wait and see what it will sound like. 🙂
Weather Radio Terminology
The following is a list of terms used about Weather Radio in both Canada and the US and will hopefully, demystify your radio.
Specific Area Message Encoding:
A method of alert localization,
Weather Radio transmitter,
The All Counties setting allows you to receive SAME alerts from anycounties within the listening area of your local WXR,
The same as All Counties,
Basic Tone Alert
A WX radio with only the abbility to alert using the 1050 Hz tone for short fuze warnings or alerts which only require it,
Canadian Location Code::
A six digit code representing the local area in which alerts will open up your WX radio,
Federal Industry Processing Standerds:
Same as CLC Code in Canada,
An indication to Weatheradio Canada listeners that there has been no new data after 3 hours and a “stay alive message” is sent out,
Stay Alive Message:
A message stating that a WXR is going through technical difficulties and can not broadcast weather information at this time,
The software used by Weatheradio Canada to disseminate weather information from the Internet over the network. 🙂
THE WATCHDOG REPORT
If you hear anything that doesn’t sound right on your local Weather Radio transmitter, there are various ways to report a problem that depend on where you live. If you live in The United States, you can call 1-888-697-7263. You can email NOAA at email@example.com, or on the web at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr. If you live in Canada, you can call 1-877-789-7733. You can email the National Weatheradio Canada Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can report it on the NOAA Weather Radio Weatheradio Canada Facebook page and the Yahoo Weatheradio Chat Group. You will find the link to both the Facebook and the Yahoo group later in this issue and all issues of the newsletter. You can also email the author directly at email@example.com and it will be passed on for you.
Note from the author:
I will only include items with a definitive time stamp on them, from start to finish. That is in affect the whole point of this report, to give as conclusively as possible, dates and times when outages have begun and ended.
I am happy to say that we don’t have anything to report for this issue, except for this one below!
Weatheradio Canada station XLK 473 in Halifax, Nova Scotia went off the air at 2:12AM ADT. Station is playing a recorded message. SAME and 1050Hz tone received.
Weatheradio Canada station XLK 473 came back on air at 11:01PM ADT, and is now broadcasting weather information. Outage time almost 8 hours.
The same WXR went back into watchdog on Friday April 27th at around 8:15 PM and wasn’t restored untill Monday April 30th, when it was restored some time in the morning. Actually, the entire Atlant region went down and that is why the Halifax WXR came back when it did the first time and possibly the second outage. 🙂
THE CANWARN/SKYWARN REPORT
CANWARN (CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a volunteer organization of amateur radio operators who report severe weather and damage reports to Environment Canada when they see it. Weather reports from amateur radio operators help confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. The information gathered from CANWARN is also used to update and fine tune weather warnings, fill in gaps in current observing networks and is also valuable in forensic storm analysis. When Environment Canada issues severe weather watches or warnings, they may alert the CANWARN volunteer Net Controllers in the affected areas. The volunteer Net Controllers contact other CANWARN members on the amateur radio, tell them a watch or warning has been issued and ask them to report signs of approaching severe weather. In the US SKYWARN is the American counterpart to CANWARN in Canada and the purpose for it is exactly the same.
For this section of the newsletter, we will explore how different CANWARN and SKYWARN groups operate in their local region, from time to time. There may be some SKYWARN information from meteorologists in this issue and there will be some tips on how to report severe weather for both CANWARN and SKYWARN.
We may not agree with everything that is written here, but it is important to hear from others to see how different groups operate throughout North America.
CANWARN training in Ontario is plugging along and for more, check out other posts on the website, with training schedules. If you wish to attend one in Ontario, just rsvp as instructed for the session you wish to attend. I plan to go to those in the GTA, which are available to anyone to attend. As for the rest of Canada, I would like some help with promoting CANWARN and especially, in Atlantic Canada. If any meteorologists reading this can please send me an email with the current training schedules in your area, I would really appreciate it. Many thanks in advance for the author.
As for SKYWARN training schedules, you can go to either of the following sites:
There are many links for you to look at on these sites. 🙂
SPOTTER REPORTING TIPS
How to Report
Amateur radio network (if applicable) – Amateur Radio Condition
Condition Codes: Code Green – Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Code Yellow – Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Watch
Code Red – Tornado Warning
in Ontario by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter with hashtag #onstorm
If you are CANWARN trained you should give the following information to the weather office in order to help them ground truth: Your name, CANWARN ID, contact number, – Where – you are located and the approximate location of what you are reporting, – Describe what you are witnessing/what you witnessed, the time of occurrence of the event and duration, its movement (where the phenomenon came from and where it is going).
In the spring/summer severe weather season, please report the following:
Hail (use coins to describe its size…dime, nickel, quarter, loonie for larger hail…golf ball etc.), Heavy rain that has resulted in local flooding, Damaging winds (damage from tree branches down to more significant tree or structural damage), Large scale rotation in a thunderstorm such as: Wall Cloud – Funnel Cloud, Waterspout and Tornado, Dense fog – visibility less than 1 km
Note: if you are unsure of the rotation or presence of a wall cloud or funnel cloud…watch the area for a few minutes if it is safe to do so to verify the situation.
For the fall/winter, please report the following: Dense fog (visibility less than 1 km), Any occurrence of freezing rain or freezing drizzle, Heavily accumulating snow (2 or more cm/hr), Whiteout conditions in snow/blowing snow (visibility near zero), Rapid freezing of water on road surfaces.
For SKYWARN spotters, you should report: Tornadoes or funnel clouds (be very wary of look-alikes; watch for rotation)
waterspouts, Wall clouds, especially if they are rotating
Hail (Be specific with regard to size; however, YOU SHOULD NOT report MARBLE size)
Winds (40 mph or greater; specify whether they are estimated or recorded), large branches downed (specify the diameter of the branch), Trees/power lines downed, Structural damage to buildings such as roof, windows, etc.
Rainfall (1 inch or greater in an hour) (NOT a 1″/hr. rate for 10 minutes), 2 inches or greater storm total, Flooding — Streams/Rivers — also, when nearing bankful — Coastal — Street (Road Closures/Washouts, Cars Stuck due to flood waters. Minimum of 6″ of water covering an entire roadway or lane of a major route/highway).
For Winter Weather you should report: Precipitation type change (rain to sleet/freezing rain/snow, when the change has “taken hold”), Thunder when it is accompanied by snow, 1/4″ radial ice accretion (from twig outward; not circumference), New Snowfall from the First 2 inches; every 2-3 inches thereafter, 1 inch per hour or greater.
If it is less than 2 inches total, give the final total only Give final total: no partial reports please) Report any snow/sleet/freezing rain if not in NWS forecast.
Please consult your local Amateur Radio club or CANWARN or SKYWARN group for their: email address, Twitter account or Facebook pages.
Where toPurchase Weather Radios
Weather Radios can be purchased at various electronics stores that specialize in radios and other equipment such as:
CB World at http://www.werecb.com/,
Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/,
Durham Radio at http://www.durhamradio.com/,
Radio World at http://www.radioworld.ca/,
Burnaby Radio at http://www.burnabyradio.com/,
Ambient Weather at http://www.ambientweather.com/, and many more retailers throughout North America.
Best Buy, which caters more to General consumer Electronics such as, Smart phones, tablets, MP3 players etc. However, they also Carrie some Weather Radios, in both Canada and the US. http://www.bestbuy.com/ also in Canada http://m.bestbuy.ca/defaultpage.aspx?lang=en and if you want results from a search on Weather Radios, https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/Search/SearchResults.aspx?query=Weather+radio
Or, the free iOS app Best Buy Canada by Best Buy Canada Ltd
If you want more information about the app, check The developer website for more information. http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/bestbuyapps.aspx
When planning to purchase your first Weather Radio, it is highly recommended to look for the Public Alert identification logo. 🙂
Weather Information on the Internet
Suggested weather sites to visit as follows; In Canada the current websites url is http://www.weather.gc.ca
Want to get your weather in the US? Go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
Weatheradio Canada webpage at http://www.ec.gc.ca/weatheradio
NOAA Weather Radio webpage at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
DX Info Centre at http://www.dxinfocentre.com/, to hear what Weather Radio sounds like before buying your first receiver, visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ or just use Google to watch or listen to Youtube video or audio.
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Newsletter is published four times a year. There is some seasonal information to notify recipients of additional weather information available to them that they may not know about (most of which can be found on the NOAA Watch web site http://www.noaawatch.gov/ ). At this site you can also subscribe to various weather feeds. The rest of the newsletter remains relatively unchanged due to outreach requirements. The current newsletter is available at the Noaa Weather Radio website http://www.weather.gov/nwr/news.htm. At this time, there is no newsletter mailing list to subscribe.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to e-mail email@example.com, here is the link to the answers website; http://findanswers.noaa.gov/noaa.answers/consumer/search.asp.
Yahoo Weatheradio Chatgroup, at
NOAA and Weatheradio Canada group on Facebook,
WXtoIMG at http://www.wxtoim.com/downloads/,
Digital Atmosphere at http://www.weathergraphics.com/da/
NWS Taunton Amateur Radio SKYWARN Station home page at http://www.wx1box.org
The Maritime Amateur (Ham Radio for Maritimers by Maritimers) http://www.maritimeamateur.ca
VoIP Hurricane Prep Net – Saturday 9pm Atlantic Time / http://www.voipwx.net/
Phil Chadwicks blog at philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Weather or Weather Radio Apps
This is a newly constructed list and it needs more results for future reference. If you have idea’s for weather or Weather Radio apps which should be put into future issues of the newsletter, send an email to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Right now these are iPhone apps only, because that is all we have at the moment. Your help is needed to expand it.
CanWeather2 by High5
Weather Office Free by X2 Studios
This app provides weather and forecast information for both Canada and the US from Environment Canada and the National Weather Service respectively. In fact nearly all apps mentioned here provide information from one or both sources. There is a version you pay for but to me, it is the same as the free version.
NOAA Weather Radio by Christopher Coudriet
This app allows you to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and receive alerts for your county in the US. It would be nice if it also provided the same feature for Weatheradio Canada and Canadians too.
The Weather Center by Midland Radio Corporation
This app provides access to Midland Radio via social media and also provides weather forecast information and much more.
Weather Radio by WDT by Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
This app gives you NWS alerts and also pushes lightning alerts to your iPhone, when lightning is possibly detected in your local area or, in area’s you have selected.
TuneIn Radio – Stream Live Radio by TuneIn
This popular app allows you to listen to conventional, Internet and even some Weather Radio stations when and where available. you can even listen to podcasts of your favourite radio shows if you like and maybe even audiobooks, To help you pass the time in the monotony of a commute or while waiting in the waiting room for an appointment.
Météo – Canadian Weather by North Bits Solutions Ltd.
This is another app designed for Canadians and is available in both english and french. It is similar to the Degrees Pro app and some of the others on this list. It is also free, despite that it offers in app purchases.
Atmosphérique Pro – Canadian Weather from EC by Quadrant Newmedia Corp.
Radar Eh – Canada radar & alerts app using Environment Canada radar data by Zhao Han
Weather Nets On Ham Radio from Daryl Stout WX1DER
a) VoIP Skywarn Hurricane Prep Net — Meets at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific Time, on the *WX_TALK* Echolink Conference Server…Echolink Node 7203, and IRLP Node 9219.
During the off-season hurricane months from December through May, the net meets on the FIRST SATURDAY of the month ONLY. During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, from June through November, the net meets WEEKLY, at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, and 5pm Pacific Time.
Also, note that on the first Saturday of December, the net is ONE HOUR EARLIER…at 7pm Eastern, 6pm Central, 5pm Mountain, and 5pm Pacific Time. This is so at the conclusion of Skywarn Recognition Day, stations don’t have to wait for the net to occur.
Further details are at http://www.voipwx.net
b) Southeast US D-Star Weather Net — Meets at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, and 6pm Pacific, every Sunday night, on Reflector 2, Port A. The net also meets on the Southeast US D-Star Weather Net Ratflector on D-Rats.
Further details are at http://www.dstarinfo.com/se-d-star-wx-net.aspx
Daryl Stout, WX1DER, Net Control
VoIP Skywarn Hurricane Prep Net
Southeast US D-Star Weather Net
Certified Skywarn Severe Storrrm Spotter
The official Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter Twitter Account
There are many reliable manufacturers and retailers of Weather Radios sold in Canada and the USA. Below is a list of the recommended models currently for sale. Note: This list of suggested weather radios is strictly for informational purposes, and not as an endorsement of any specific model or manufacturer.
Midland Radio Corporation http://www.Midlandradio.com WR-300, W-r100B, EH55VP, WR-120, HH54VP, HH54VP2, ER102, Er300, ER310, EH55VP, Nautico 3, WR-11 and WR-400 are all manufactured by Midland and sold in North America.
Oregon Scientific http://www2oregonscientific.com W-R601, W-R203 and W-R602 are currently sold in North America.
Uniden Corporation http://www.Uniden.com BC75XLT, BC95XLT, BC125AT, BC346XT, BCT15X, BCD996XT, Homepatrol, BC436HP, BC536HP and BCD396XT are currently sold in North America.
Sangean USA http://www.Sangean.com CL100, DT400,, DT500, MMR88, PR-D4W and PRD9W are manufactured by Sangean and currently sold in North America.
Reecom Electronics Inc
http://www.reecominc.com R-1630, R-1650, R-200 and R-500 are manufactured by Reecom and currently sold in North America.
Kaito Electronics Inc http://www.kaitousa.com/. KA500, KA101 and KA600 are currently sold in North America.
Alert Works http://www.alert-works.com/ Alert Works desktop model EAR-10 is currently sold in North America.
If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to submit an article, please email the author Gord at email@example.com
Also, check out The Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1854305558188610/
You can also contact him on Skype and his Skype name is blindgordie.
I would like to give special thanks to those who made contributions to this latest issue as follows:
Alex Szkabarnicki, Brian Rodgers, Daryl Stout WX1DER, Marc-Antoine Chabot, Bob Robichaud VE1MBR, Midland Radio Corporation, Dennis T. Paganin VA3DTP (our faithful web master and Co-Editor), Malcolm Kendal VE3BGD, Jim Langille VE1JBL, Gregory Zwicker, Phil Chadwick, Geoff Coulson and Marc Fitkin for their help and contributions to the newsletter, among others.
Sincerely, Gord The Old Reliable.VA3WXA.